Antony Peyton Writer and Journalist

Antony Peyton
Industrial Symphony No. 1

A review of David Lynch’s film Industrial Symphony No. 1.

Review Number: 4
Review Date: 28 August 2016

Title: Industrial Symphony No. 1
Director: David Lynch
Stars: Laura Dern, Nicolas Cage, Julee Cruise
Country: United States
Release Date: 1990
Genre: Avant-Garde, Musical

“Where are you?”

The agony and ecstasy of love have inspired people in the realms of literature, music, art and cinema for centuries. But few, or any, have created a visual and musical oddity that captures “The Dream of the Broken Hearted”.

In our real world, David Lynch’s Industrial Symphony No. 1 exists in a time between Wild at Heart (1990) and Twin Peaks (1990-91). But in the disturbing and dynamic dreamscapes of Lynch’s inner world, we are witnesses to a strange musical play that portrays the aftermath of a failed relationship. A woman dreams. And we look in/on.

Laura Dern and Nicholas Cage (who starred as young lovers in Wild at Heart) are the opening act, and then ‘click’, it’s over. Until something else begins.

For 50 minutes it offers a combination of harsh sounds and saccharine-sweet pop – the latter channelling Lynch’s fascination with an idealised America of the 1950s.

While some occasionally argue that Lynch is too weird for his own good, I don’t believe that is the intention. It’s his arthouse sensibilities and upbringing that give us something uniquely creative. For the latter, his happy childhood in Montana and travelling across the United States show that he understands and appreciates the goodness in the world.

But as he has often intimated, he can also see beneath that veneer to the ever-present violence. All these influences give Lynch the tools to construct something beguiling and, more importantly, entertaining.

As with some of his other creations, Lynch was assisted by Angelo Badalamenti and Julee Cruise. How fine it must be to meet people on the same wavelength. People that get it instantly. This good old-fashioned teamwork means we are also spared self-indulgent navel gazing.

This is a concise review. An analysis of every log being cut or flashing light in the symphony will bring no joy to the spectacle.

Don’t expect a Hollywood remake any time soon. We’re unlikely to see anything like this ever again.

“I guess I’m saying goodbye.”

Related Post:

The Big Dream

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